Hundreds of people late on Tuesday demonstrated in Philadelphia, with looting and violence breaking out in a second night of unrest after the latest police shooting of a black man in the US.
The police department warned on Twitter that “a large crowd” of about 1,000 people was looting businesses in the area of Castor and Aramingo, advising citizens to “avoid the area.”
Footage from a news helicopter appeared to show people breaking into and looting a Foot Locker store and another business.
An Agence France-Presse reporter at a different location, in west Philadelphia where another crowd of an estimated 1,000 people had gathered, saw police armed with batons clashing violently with several dozen protesters.
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf’s office announced the deployment of several hundred National Guard troops to the city “to protect the right to peacefully assemble and protest while keeping people safe.”
The White House in a statement early yesterday said that it “stands ready, upon request, to deploy any and all federal resources to end these riots.”
The fresh unrest came a day after the death of 27-year-old Walter Wallace, whose family said had mental health issues.
On Monday night, hundreds of demonstrators took to the streets, with riot police pushing them back with shields and batons.
“There’s a lot of confusion about why” police shot the young man dead, Ezra Alidow, a 25-year-old artist, said on Tuesday.
“It’s happening all over America. It’s scary,” he said. “These police were undertrained.”
More than 90 arrests were made during the first night of sporadic riots and looting in the city on Monday, and 30 police officers were injured, including one whose leg was broken when he was hit by a truck.
“For today, and this evening, we anticipate the chance of additional incidents of civil unrest,” Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw told reporters.
“As such we will be taking additional steps to ensure order,” including increasing police presence at key locations and deploying the looting response team, she added.
The White House statement said the disturbances were “the most recent consequence of the liberal democrats’ war against the police.”
Local media reported that two officers shot Wallace at about 4pm on Monday afternoon after he refused to drop a knife as his mother tried to restrain him.
Video of the killing posted on social media showed Wallace push his mother away and then walk toward the police.
“Put the knife down,” one of the officers shouted in the video, which panned away as officers opened fire.
Wallace’s father, also called Walter Wallace, said his son appeared to have been shot 10 times, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported.
“Why didn’t they use a Taser?” the paper quoted him as saying.
“He has mental issues. Why you have to gun him down?” he said, adding that his son was on medication.
Outlaw launched an investigation, saying that the video “raises many questions.”
“While at the scene this evening, I heard and felt the anger of the community,” she said in a statement.
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